Amy Poehler at Harvard today (Reuters/Brian Snyder)
Even before she opened her mouth today, Amy Poehler managed to make us laugh. The Burlington-bred star of "Parks and Recreation" was the Class Day speaker at Harvard, and as she waited to talk, smart-aleck student Scott Levin-Gesundheit referred to Poehler as the "blonde Tina Fey." Without missing a beat, Poehler flipped the kid the middle finger. (That's what you call physical humor.) To be fair, Levin-Gesundheit's speech was funny, and even Poehler laughed out loud when the Harvard senior said he'd relieved himself nine times in the Widener Library stacks. An alum of BC - "which some call the Harvard of Boston" - Poehler encouraged students to keep an open mind as they embark on life after college. "Other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find people who challenge and inspire you. Spend a lot of time with them. It will change your life," she said. "You're here because someone gave you strength: God, Allah, Buddha, Gaga. Whoever you pray to." She also asked the students to be kind to their elders. "Would it kill you to be nicer to your parents?" said Poehler, whose owns parents were sitting nearby. "They have sacrificed so much for you and all they want you to do is smile and take a picture with your weird cousins."
A few other pearls of wisdom from Poehler:
- "If I wanted to give advice as an actor: Don’t do it. Don’t be one. There are too many. Sorry no more room at the inn. I bet you’re great, just work with the human genome."
- "I cannot stress enough that the answer to a lot of your life’s questions is often in someone else’s face. Look at people’s faces. They will tell you amazing things. Like if they’re angry, nauseous, or asleep.
- "You never know what’s around the corner unless you peek. Hold someone’s hand while you do it, you’ll feel less scared. It’s much more fun to succeed and fail with other people. You can blame them."
- "When you feel scared, hold someone’s hand, look into their eyes. When you feel brave, do the same thing. You are here because you’re smart and brave, and if you add to that kindness and the ability to change a tire, you almost make up the perfect person."
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